However tolerant some of the great rulers of the classical Islamic period once were, life is rarely kind to religious minorities in the Arab world today, as we’ve seen many times before. And few minority groups have fared worse than the Jews. Yemen once had one of the most vibrant and intellectually fruitful Jewish communities in the entire Middle East, but today its few remaining members must rely on government forces for protection from persecution.But as that government comes under increasing pressure, its ability to shield the remaining Jewish population is slipping. The Times of Israel has the latest on the deteriorating situation:
A leader of the Yemen Jewish community was stabbed to death outside the US Embassy in Sana’a Tuesday. The attacker stabbed Aaron Joseph Zindani 12 times before being stopped by a group of men.Zindani was rushed to a local hospital in the capital, where he was declared dead.Zindani’s son, Joseph, said the attacker was a known man who claimed Zindani had put a spell on him.The chief rabbi of Yemen, Yahia Youssef Moussa, recently called on the country’s president, Abdrabu Mansur al-Hadi, to allow the Jewish community and other minority groups to have seats in the country’s parliament, citing the need for the community not to feel discriminated against.
After Israel’s founding, the vast majority of Yemenite Jewry immigrated to the safety of the Jewish state. These last Jewish holdouts have repeatedly refused offers of evacuation to Israel. Via Meadia admires their attachment to a land and a culture that has nourished their families across the generations, but this group is one of the most vulnerable in Yemen as security continues to deteriorate across the country.